Reports in Germany suggest Formula One is looking at changing the way the grid for the Grand Prix is formed.
According to AMuS, F1’s bosses are planning to scrap Free Practice Three on Saturday mornings and replace it with the current knockout Qualifying session. As a grid is formed from this, the cars would then take part in a 100km sprint race with no fuel or tyre limitations. The sprint race would be around a third of the length of a standard Grand Prix. The result of the sprint race would determine the grid for the main event on Sunday. With the changes, it is hoped a younger, and wider, audience will be reached.
The original idea was for the sprint race to have its grid in reverse order of the championship, but this was rejected due to concerns that it would make the action in the sprint race too ‘artificial’.
It has also been suggested that Friday practice would be changed to two one hour-long sessions in the afternoon, instead of the current two ninety minute sessions. The idea behind this is that it would create time for fans at the track to get up close with the cars on Friday morning.
The last time the Qualifying format was changed was for the start of the 2016 season, when ‘elimination’ qualifying was introduced. The decision, and format, was criticised heavily and lasted for only two rounds of the championship before the old knockout system was reinstated.
Red Bull’s Helmut Marko has recently ciriticised the use of so-called ‘party modes’ in qualifying, calling for the practice of switching engine modes in qualifying to be abolished. Speaking to Autosport, Marko said: “You could say that you should race with the mode that you do qualifying with. That would be a solution.”
What do you think to the suggested changes? Does the qualifying format need changing at all? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, or on twitter, @LightsOutF1Blog!